Common Era (also Current Era or Christian Era), abbreviated as CE, is an alternative naming of the calendar era, Anno Domini ("in the Year of Our Lord", abbreviated AD). BCE is the abbreviation for Before the Common/Current/Christian Era (an alternative to Before Christ, abbreviated BC). The CE/BCE designation uses the year-numbering system introduced by the 6th-century Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus, who started the Anno Domini designation, intending the beginning of the life of Jesus to be the reference date. Neither notation includes a year zero, and the two notations (CE/BCE and AD/BC) are numerically equivalent; thus "2014 CE" corresponds to "AD 2014", and "400 BCE" corresponds to "400 BC".
The expression "Common Era" can be found as early as 1708 in English, and traced back to Latin usage among European Christians to 1615, as vulgaris aerae, and to 1635 in English as Vulgar Era. At those times, the expressions were all used interchangeably with "Christian Era", with "vulgar" meaning "ordinary, common, or not regal" rather than "crudely indecent". Use of the CE abbreviation was introduced by Jewish academics in the mid-19th century. Since the later 20th century, use of CE and BCE has been popularized in academic and scientific publications, and more generally by publishers emphasizing secularism or sensitivity to non-Christians.
The Gregorian calendar and the year-numbering system associated with it is the calendar system with most widespread use in the world today. For decades, it has been the global standard, recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union.
The CE/BCE notation has been adopted by some authors and publishers wishing to be neutral or sensitive to non-Christians because it does not explicitly make use of religious titles for Jesus, such as "Christ" and Dominus ("Lord"), which are used in the BC/AD notation, nor does it give implicit expression to the Christian creed that Jesus was the Christ.
Among the reasons given by those who oppose the use of Common Era notation is that it is selective as other aspects of the Western calendar have origins in various belief systems (e.g., January is named for Janus), and claims that its propagation is the result of secularization, anti-supernaturalism, religious pluralism, and political correctness.
- 1 History
- 2 Rationale
- 3 Conventions in style guides
- 4 Similar conventions in other languages
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 External links
The year numbering system used with Common Era notation was devised by the Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus in the year 525 to replace the Era of Martyrs system, because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. He attempted to number years from an event he referred to as the Incarnation of Jesus, although scholars today generally agree that he miscalculated by a small number of years. Dionysius labeled the column of the Easter table in which he introduced the new era "Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi". Numbering years in this manner became more widespread with its usage by Bede in England in 731. Bede also introduced the practice of dating years before the supposed year of birth of Jesus, and the practice of not using a year zero. In 1422, Portugal became the last Western European country to switch to the system begun by Dionysius.
Use of the term "vulgar era"
The term "Common Era" is traced back in English to its appearance as "Vulgar Era" to distinguish it from the regnal dating systems typically used in national law. The first use of the Latin equivalent (vulgaris aerae) discovered so far was in a 1615 book by Johannes Kepler. Kepler uses it again in a 1616 table of ephemerides, and again in 1617. A 1635 English edition of that book has the title page in English – so far, the earliest-found usage of Vulgar Era in English. A 1701 book edited by John LeClerc includes "Before Christ according to the Vulgar Æra, 6". A 1716 book in English by Dean Humphrey Prideaux says, "before the beginning of the vulgar æra, by which we now compute the years from his incarnation." A 1796 book uses the term "vulgar era of the nativity".
The first so-far-discovered usage of "Christian Era" is as the Latin phrase aerae christianae on the title page of a 1584 theology book. In 1649, the Latin phrase æræ Christianæ appeared in the title of an English almanac. A 1652 ephemeris is the first instance so-far-found for English usage of "Christian Era".
The English phrase "common Era" appears at least as early as 1708, and in a 1715 book on astronomy is used interchangeably with "Christian Era" and "Vulgar Era". A 1759 history book uses common æra in a generic sense, to refer to the common era of the Jews. The first-so-far found usage of the phrase "before the common era" is in a 1770 work that also uses common era and vulgar era as synonyms, in a translation of a book originally written in German. The 1797 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica uses the terms vulgar era and common era synonymously. In 1835, in his book Living Oracles, Alexander Campbell, wrote: "The vulgar Era, or Anno Domini; the fourth year of Jesus Christ, the first of which was but eight days", and also refers to the common era as a synonym for vulgar era with "the fact that our Lord was born on the 4th year before the vulgar era, called Anno Domini, thus making (for example) the 42d year from his birth to correspond with the 38th of the common era..." The Catholic Encyclopedia (1909) used the terms "Christian, Vulgar or Common Era" interchangeably.
The phrase "common era", in lower case, also appeared in the 19th century in a generic sense, not necessarily to refer to the Christian Era, but to any system of dates in common use throughout a civilization. Thus, "the common era of the Jews", "the common era of the Mahometans", "common era of the world", "the common era of the foundation of Rome". When it did refer to the Christian Era, it was sometimes qualified, e.g., "common era of the Incarnation", "common era of the Nativity", or "common era of the birth of Christ".
An adapted translation of Common Era into pseudo-Latin as Era Vulgaris (in Latin this means Common Mistress) was adopted in the 20th century by some followers of Aleister Crowley, and thus the abbreviation "e.v." or "EV" may sometimes be seen as a replacement for AD.
History of the use of the CE/BCE abbreviation
As early as 1825, the abbreviation VE (for Vulgar Era) was in use among Jews to denote years on the Western calendar.
Common Era notation has also been in use for Hebrew lessons for "more than a century". Some Jewish academics were already using the CE and BCE abbreviations by the mid-19th century, such as in 1856, when Rabbi and historian Morris Jacob Raphall used the abbreviation in his book Post-Biblical History of The Jews.
The ratio of usage of BCE to BC, CE to AD, Common Era to Anno Domini, and Before Common Era to Before Christ in books has changed dramatically between the years 1800 and 2008, particularly since 1980, with the CE-related variants increasing in usage.
More visible uses of Common Era notation have recently surfaced at major museums in the English-speaking world: The Smithsonian Institution prefers Common Era usage, though individual museums are not required to use it. Furthermore, several style guides now prefer or mandate its usage. Even some style guides for Christian churches prefer its use: for example, the Episcopal Diocese Maryland Church News.
In the United States, the usage of the BCE/CE notation in textbooks is growing. Some publications have moved over to using it exclusively. For example, the 2007 World Almanac was the first edition to switch over to the BCE/CE usage, ending a 138-year usage of the traditional BC/AD dating notation. It is used by the College Board in its history tests, and by the Norton Anthology of English Literature. Others have taken a different approach. The US-based History Channel uses BCE/CE notation in articles on non-Christian religious topics such as Jerusalem and Judaism. In June 2006, the Kentucky State School Board reversed its decision that would have included the designations BCE and CE as part of state law, leaving education of students about these concepts a matter of discretion at the local level.
In 2002, the BCE/CE notation system was introduced into the school curriculum in England and Wales. In 2011 in the UK, the BBC announced it would be using CE/BCE notation on its programmes and website, permitting usage of either notation. Numerous British universities, museums, historians, and book retailers have either dropped BC and AD entirely or are using it alongside the BCE/CE notation. Also in 2011, media reports suggested that the BC/AD notation in Australian school textbooks would be replaced by BCE/CE notation. The story became national news and drew opposition from some politicians and church leaders. Weeks after the story broke, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority denied the rumour and stated that the BC/AD notation would remain, with CE and BCE as an optional suggested learning activity.
With respect to the use of CE in Jewish scholarship, it was historically motivated by the desire to avoid the implicit "Our Lord" in the abbreviation AD. Although other aspects of dating systems are based in Christian origins too, AD stands out as a particularly direct reference to Jesus as Lord.
Proponents of the Common Era notation assert that the use of BCE/CE shows sensitivity to those who use the same year numbering system as the one that originated with and is currently used by Christians, but who are not themselves Christian. Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan argued, "[T]he Christian calendar no longer belongs exclusively to Christians. People of all faiths have taken to using it simply as a matter of convenience. There is so much interaction between people of different faiths and cultures – different civilizations, if you like – that some shared way of reckoning time is a necessity. And so the Christian Era has become the Common Era."
It has been noted that the label Anno Domini is arguably inaccurate; "scholars generally believe that Christ was born some years before A.D. 1, the historical evidence is too sketchy to allow a definitive dating."
Some oppose the Common Era notation for explicitly religious reasons. Because the BC/AD notation is based on the traditional year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, removing reference to him in era notation is offensive to some Christians.
The Southern Baptist Convention supports retaining the BC/AD abbreviations as "a reminder of the preeminence of Christ and His gospel in world history". The Convention has criticized the use of BCE and CE as being the result of "secularization, anti-supernaturalism, religious pluralism, and political correctness" and encourages its members to "retain the traditional method of dating and avoid this revisionism".
There are also secular concerns. English language expert Kenneth G. Wilson speculated in his style guide that "if we do end by casting aside the A.D./B.C. convention, almost certainly some will argue that we ought to cast aside as well the conventional numbering system [that is, the method of numbering years] itself, given its Christian basis." The short lived French Revolutionary Calendar, for example, began with the first year of the First French Republic and rejected the seven-day week (with its connections to Genesis) for a ten-day week.
Astrobiologist Duncan Steel argues further that if one is going to replace BC/AD with BCE/CE then one should reject all aspects of the dating system (including time of day, days of the week and months of the year), as they all have origins related to pagan, astrological, Jewish, or Christian beliefs. He rejects secular arguments against Christian-based BC/AD as selective. Steel makes note of the consistency of the Quaker system (now rarely used), which removed all such references.
Raimon Panikkar contends that using the designation BCE/CE is a "return... to the most bigoted Christian colonialism" towards non-Christians, who do not necessarily consider the time period following the beginning of the calendar to be a "common era".
Some critics assert that the use of identifiers which have common spellings is more ambiguous than the use of identifiers with divergent spellings. Both CE and BCE have in common the letters "CE", which is more likely to cause confusion, they claim, than identifiers with clearly different spelling.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, it was a student's use of BCE/CE notation, inspired by its use within Wikipedia, which prompted the history teacher Andrew Schlafly to found Conservapedia, a cultural conservative wiki. One of its "Conservapedia Commandments" is that users must always apply BC/AD notation, since its sponsors perceive BCE/CE notation to "deny the historical basis" of the dating system.
Conventions in style guides
The abbreviation BCE, just as with BC, always follows the year number. Unlike AD, which traditionally precedes the year number, CE always follows the year number (if context requires that it be written at all). Thus, the current year is written as 2014 in both notations (or, if further clarity is needed, as 2014 CE, or as AD 2014), and the year that Socrates died is represented as 399 BCE (the same year that is represented by 399 BC in the BC/AD notation). The abbreviations are sometimes written with small capital letters, or with periods (e.g., "BCE" or "C.E."). Style guides for academic texts on religion generally prefer BCE/CE to BC/AD.
The terms "Common Era", "Anno Domini", "Before the Common Era", and "Before Christ" in contemporary English can be applied to dates that rely on either the Julian calendar or the Gregorian calendar. Modern dates are understood in the Western world to be in the Gregorian calendar, but for older dates writers should specify the calendar used. Dates in the Gregorian calendar in the Western world have always used the era designated in English as Anno Domini or Common Era.
Similar conventions in other languages
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
Several languages other than English also have both religious and non-religious ways of identifying the era used in dates. In some communist states during the Cold War period, usage of non-religious notation was mandated.
- In Angola, the abbreviations "E.C." ("Era Comum", Common Era) and "A.E.C." ("Antes da Era Comum", Before Common Era) is generally used.
- In Arabic, بعد الميلاد (After the Birth) corresponds to CE, while قبل الميلاد (Before the Birth) corresponds to BCE. The "Birth" referenced is that of Jesus. This system is in widespread use in all Arab countries, but is accompanied by the Hijri system. Dates are often given in both in that order. In Saudi Arabia, however, the Hijri System is predominant.
- In the Chinese language, common era (公元, Gong yuan) has been predominantly used to refer to the western calendar without any religious connotation.
- In Finland, the terms eKr. (ennen Kristusta, before Christ) and jKr. (jälkeen Kristuksen, after Christ) were largely used until the 1980s but have been mostly replaced during the last couple of decades with terms eaa. (ennen ajanlaskun alkua, before start of chronology) and jaa. (jälkeen ajanlaskun alun, after start of chronology).
- In Germany, Enlightened Jews in Berlin seem to have already been using "(Before the) Common Era" in the 18th century, while others like Moses Mendelssohn opposed this usage as it would hinder the integration of Jews into German society. The formulation seems to have persisted among German Jews in the 19th century in forms like vor der gewöhnlichen Zeitrechnung (before the common chronology).
- In 1938 Nazi Germany, the use of this convention was also prescribed by the National Socialist Teachers League, apparently because the Christian and Roman chronology were not "Germanic" enough.
- However, it was soon discovered that many German Jews had been using the convention ever since the 18th century, and they found it ironic to see "Aryans following Jewish example nearly 200 years later".
- The German Democratic Republic (1949-1990) introduced the convention of v. u. Z. (vor unserer Zeitrechnung, before our chronology) and u. Z. (unserer Zeitrechnung, of our chronology) instead of v. Chr. (vor Christus, before Christ) and n. Chr. (nach Christus/Christi Geburt, after Christ/the Nativity of Christ). The use of these terms persists in contemporary German to some extent, differing regionally and ideologically. In Jewish contexts mostly "v. d. Z." ("vor der Zeitenwende") and "n. d. Z." ("nach der Zeitenwende") is used.
- In Hebrew, the most common term used to refer to BCE/CE is simply לספירה (according to the count) for CE, and לפני הספירה (before the count) for BCE. An alternative term, expressing an ideological (sometimes religious) approach aimed at distancing oneself from the source of the count, is למניינם (according to their count). The later is sometimes added after the former, especially in the case of BCE (e.g. שנת 150 לפני הספירה למנינם), due to technical linguistic reasons.
- In Hungary, similarly to the Bulgarian case, i. e. (időszámításunk előtt, before our era) and i. sz. (időszámításunk szerint, according to our era) are still widely used instead of traditional Kr. e. (Krisztus előtt, Before Christ) and Kr. u. (Krisztus után, After Christ), which were unofficially reinstituted after the Communist period.
- In Indonesia, the terms SM. (Sebelum Masehi, before Masehi, from Arabic word of Masih, referred to Jesus) and M. (Masehi, after Masehi) were generally used.
- In Japanese, years reckoned by the Western calendar as opposed to the Japanese Imperial eras are indicated by, for example, 西暦2013年, where 西暦 (seireki) literally means "Western calendar" which carries no religious connotation, aside from the fact that Christianity is a Western religion. As in Korean, 紀元前 (kigenzen) is used to mean "before the common era (BCE)." "A.D.", and less commonly, "C.E.", are also occasionally seen, but the typical Japanese person would not know about the religious connotations or lack of in these terms.
- In Korean, 기원전(紀元前), which means "preceding the [Western] era", is used to indicate years B.C.E. 서기(西紀), "Western era", short for 서력기원(西暦紀元), meaning "[from] the origin year of the Western calendar", is used to indicate years C.E. Christians use 주후, meaning "after [the birth of] the Lord", as a shorthand calque of Anno Domini.
- In Poland the only term generally used is naszej ery/przed naszą erą (of our era/before our era). The terms przed Chrystusem/po Chrystusie (before Christ/after Christ) are possible but nearly never used in contemporary Poland.
- In Romania, throughout most of the communist period, the preferred standard was to use the secularised î. e. n. (înaintea erei noastre, before our era) and e. n. (era noastră, our era). After the downfall of Communism and the 1989 revolution, the original convention using î. Hr. (înainte de Hristos, before Christ) and d. Hr. (după Hristos, after Christ) has become more widespread. Alternatively, î. Cr. and d. Cr. are used, mainly due to an alternative spelling of Hristos (Christ) as Cristos, the latter being preferred by the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches.
- In Russia, the terms до н.э. (до нашей эры, before our era) and н.э. (нашей эры, our era) are often used. Their use was nearly universal during the Soviet rule, and while their use in mass media has considerably declined and has been replaced by their Christian equivalents, the BCE/CE terms remain the strongly preferred version in scientific literature, business magazines and other "serious" texts.
- In Spanish, EC (Era Común) is used for CE, while AEC (antes de la Era Común) is equivalent to BCE.
- In Swedish the terms f.Kr. (före Kristus, before Christ) and e.Kr. (efter Kristus, after Christ) have traditionally been used. They are seldomly replaced by f.v.t. and e.v.t. (före/enligt vår tidräkning, before/according to our chronology).
- In Welsh, OC can be expanded to equivalents of both AD (Oed Crist) and CE (Oes Cyffredin); for dates before the Common Era, CC (traditionally, Cyn Crist) is used exclusively, as Cyn yr Oes Cyffredin would abbreviate to a mild obscenity.
- In Turkish the terms M.Ö. (Milattan Önce, before the birth (of Jesus) and M.S. (Milattan Sonra / after the birth (of Jesus)are commonly used. İ.Ö (İsa'dan Önce /before Jesus) and İ.S. (İsa'dan Sonra / after Jesus) can also be seen in academic writing.
- Ante Christum Natum
- Before present
- Calendar era
- Calendar reform
- Human Era
- List of calendars
Notes and references
- BBC Team (8 February 2005). "History of Judaism 63BCE–1086CE". BBC Religion & Ethics. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Year 1: CE – What is nowadays called the 'Current Era' traditionally begins with the birth of a Jewish teacher called Jesus. His followers came to believe he was the promised Messiah and later split away from Judaism to found Christianity."
- "Controversy over the use of the "CE/BCE" and "AD/BC" dating notation". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
- "Common Era". American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1992.
- It is unclear whether Dionysius intended this to be the conception or birth of Jesus, or if it would make a difference in counting the years.
- "calendar, Gregorian". The Astronomical Almanac: Online!. United States Naval Observatory. 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Doggett, L. E. (1992). "Calendars". In P. K. Seidelmann. Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac. Sausalito, California: University Science Books. p. 581. ISBN 0-935702-68-7. "The Gregorian calendar today serves as an international standard for civil use....Years are counted from the initial epoch defined by Dionysius Exiguus"
- Two separate systems that also do not use religious titles, the astronomical system and the ISO 8601 standard, do use a year zero. The year 1 BCE (identical to the year 1 BC) is represented as 0 in the astronomical system, and as 0000 in ISO 8601. Presently, ISO 8601 dating requires use of the Gregorian calendar for all dates, however; whereas astronomical dating and Common Era dating allow use of the Julian calendar for dates before 1582 CE.
- first so-far-found use of common era in English (1708). Printed for H. Rhodes. 1708. Retrieved 2011-05-18. The History of the Works of the Learned 10. London. January 1708. p. 513.
- "Earliest-found use of "vulgaris aerae" (Latin for Common Era) (1615)". Retrieved 2011-05-18. Johannes Kepler (1615). Joannis Keppleri Eclogae chronicae: ex epistolis doctissimorum aliquot virorum & suis mutuis, quibus examinantur tempora nobilissima: 1. Herodis Herodiadumque, 2. baptismi & ministerii Christi annorum non plus 2 1/4, 3. passionis, mortis et resurrectionis Dn. N. Iesu Christi, anno aerae nostrae vulgaris 31. non, ut vulgo 33., 4. belli Iudaici, quo funerata fuit cum Ierosolymis & Templo Synagoga Iudaica, sublatumque Vetus Testamentum. Inter alia & commentarius in locum Epiphanii obscurissimum de cyclo veteri Iudaeorum. (in Latin). Francofurti : Tampach. "anno aerae nostrae vulgaris"
- Irvin, Dale T.; Sunquist, Scott (2001). History of the World Christian Movement. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. xi. ISBN 0-567-08866-9. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "The influence of western culture and scholarship upon the rest of the world in turn led to this system of dating becoming the most widely used one across the globe today. Many scholars in historical and religious studies in the West in recent years have sought to lessen the explicitly Christian meaning of this system without abandoning the usefulness of a single, common, global form of dating. For this reason the terms common era and before the common era, abbreviated as CE and BCE, have grown in popularity as designations. The terms are meant, in deference to non-Christians, to soften the explicit theological claims made by the older Latin terminology, while at the same time providing continuity with earlier generations of mostly western Christian historical research."
- Corrywright, Dominic; Morgan, Peggy (2006). Get Set for Religious Studies. Edinburgh University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7486-2032-6. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Also note where AD (from the Latin 'in the year of our Lord') and BC (before Christ) are used in datings, for although the numerical calculation of this system is now the international convention, the terminology used in religious studies is CE (common era) and BCE (before the common era), which are more neutrally descriptive terms"
- Andrew Herrmann (27 May 2006). "BCE date designation called more sensitive". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Herrmann observes, "The changes – showing up at museums, in academic circles and in school textbooks – have been touted as more sensitive to people of faiths outside of Christianity." However, Herrmann notes, "The use of BCE and CE have rankled some Christians""
- Anno Domini (which means in the year of the/our Lord)"Anno Domini". Merriam Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. 2003. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Etymology: Medieval Latin, in the year of the Lord" Translated as "in the year of (Our) Lord" in Blackburn, B & Holford-Strevens, L, (2003), The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press, 782.
- "Historical background of the use of "CE" and "BCE" to identify dates". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "According to David Barrett et al., editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions – AD 30 to 2200", there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. The vast majority do not recognize Yeshua of Nazareth as either God or Messiah. Expecting followers of other religions to imply this status for Yeshua can create ill feeling."
- Heustis, Reer R, Jr. (9 September 2007). "Common Era and the culture war". RenewAmerica. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "referred to as Year of our Lord, which is an unmistakable reference to the Lord Jesus Christ....Not every person believes that Jesus is the Lord, they argue, and therefore, he should not have to acknowledge Christ's Lordship...Make no mistake about it: Jesus Christ is not only the Lord of Christians – He is also the Lord of all."
- McKim, Donald K (1996). "Common Era entry". Westminster dictionary of theological terms. ISBN 978-0-664-25511-4. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Steel, Duncan (1999). Marking time: the epic quest to invent the perfect calendar. John Wiley and Sons. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-471-29827-4. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "On Retaining The Traditional Method Of Calendar Dating (B.C./A.D.)". Southern Baptist Convention. June 2000. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "This practice [of BCE/CE] is the result of the secularization, anti-supernaturalism, religious pluralism, and political correctness pervasive in our society... retention [of BC/AD] is a reminder to those in this secular age of the importance of Christ’s life and mission and emphasizes to all that history is ultimately His Story."
- "AD and BC become CE/BCE". 19 February 2002. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- ""CE/BCE" or "AD/BC" dating notation". Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Pedersen, O. (1983). "The Ecclesiastical Calendar and the Life of the Church". In Coyne, G.V. et al. (Eds.). The Gregorian Reform of the Calendar. Vatican Observatory. p. 50. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Doggett, L.E., (1992), "Calendars" in Seidelmann, P.K., The Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac, Sausalito CA: University Science Books, p. 579.
- Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (1995). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780-802837813. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Pedersen, O., (1983), "The Ecclesiastical Calendar and the Life of the Church" in Coyne, G.V. et al. (Eds.) The Gregorian Reform of the Calendar, Vatican Observatory, p. 52.
- Bede wrote of the Incarnation of Jesus, but treated it as synonymous with birth. Blackburn, B & Holford-Strevens, L, (2003), The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press, 778.
- As noted in Zero#History, the use of zero in Western civilization was uncommon before the 12th century.
- "General Chronology". New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol III. Robert Appleton Company, New York. 1908. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- from the Latin word vulgus, the common people, i.e. those who are not royalty. It is relatively recently the word vulgar has come to mean "crudely indecent". Common fractions are still often referred to as vulgar fractions, without any implication of crudeness.
- In Latin, Common Era is written as Vulgaris Aerae. It also occasionally appears as æræ vulgaris, aerae vulgaris, aeram vulgarem, anni vulgaris, vulgaris aerae Christianae, and anni vulgatae nostrae aerae Christianas.
- Kepler, Johann (1616). Second use of "vulgaris aerae" (Latin for Common Era) (1616). Plancus. Retrieved 2011-05-18. Kepler, Johann (1616). Ephemerides novae motuum caelestium, ab Ānno vulgaris aerae MDCXVII en observationibus potissimum Tychonis Brahei hypothesibus physicis, et tabulis Rudolphinis... Plancus.
- Kepler, Johannes; Fabricus, David (1617). Third use of "vulgaris aerae" (Latin for Common Era) (1617). sumptibus authoris, excudebat Iohannes Plancus. Retrieved 2011-05-18. Johannes Kepler, Jakob Bartsch (1617). Ephemerides novae motuum coelestium, ab anno vulgaris aerae MDCXVII[-XXXVI]... Johannes Plancus. "Part 3 has title: Tomi L Ephemeridvm Ioannis Kepleri pars tertia, complexa annos à M.DC.XXIX. in M.DC.XXXVI. In quibus & tabb. Rudolphi jam perfectis, et sociâ operâ clariss. viri dn. Iacobi Bartschii ... Impressa Sagani Silesiorvm, in typographeio Ducali, svmptibvs avthoris, anno M.DC.XXX."
- Translation of title (per 1635 English edition): New Ephemerids for the Celestiall Motions, for the Yeeres of the Vulgar Era 1617–1636
- Kepler, Johann; Vlacq, Adriaan (1635). Earliest so-far-found use of vulgar era in English (1635). Retrieved 2011-05-18. Johann Kepler, Adriaan Vlacq (1635). Ephemerides of the Celestiall Motions, for the Yeers of the Vulgar Era 1633...
- Clerc, Jean Le (1701). vulgar era in English (1701). Retrieved 2011-05-18. John LeClerc, ed. (1701). The Harmony of the Evangelists. London: Sam Buckley. p. 5. "Before Christ according to the Vulgar AEra, 6"
- Prideaux, Humphrey (1799). Prideaux use of "Vulgar Era" (1716) (reprint ed.). Retrieved 2011-05-18. "reckoning it backward from the vulgar era of Christ's incarnation" Humphrey Prideaux, D.D. (1716). "The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews and Neighbouring Nations". arXiv:(1716 edition not online, 1749 online is Vol 2) 1799 (1716 edition not online, 1749 online is Vol 2). "This happened in the seventh year after the building of Rome, and in the second year of the eighth Olympiad, which was the seven hundred forty-seventh year before Christ, i. e. before the beginning of the vulgar æra, by which we now compute the years from his incarnation.".
- Merriam Webster accepts the date of 1716, but does not give the source. "Merriam Webster Online entry for Vulgar Era". Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Robert Walker (Rector of Shingham); Newton, Sir Isaac; Falconer, Thomas (1796). "vulgar era of the nativity" (1796). T. Cadell jun. and W. Davies. Retrieved 2011-05-18. Rev. Robert Walker, Isaac Newton, Thomas Falconer (1796). Analysis of Researches Into the Origin and Progress of Historical Time, from the Creation to ... London: T. Cadell Jr. and W. Davies. p. 10. "Dionysius the Little brought the vulgar era of the nativity too low by four years."
- "1584 Latin use of aerae christianae". Retrieved 2011-05-18. Grynaeus, Johann Jacob; Beumler, Marcus (1584). De Eucharistica controuersia, capita doctrinae theologicae de quibus mandatu, illustrissimi principis ac domini, D. Iohannis Casimiri, Comites Palatini ad Rhenum, Ducis Bauariae, tutoris & administratoris Electoralis Palatinatus, octonis publicis disputationibus (quarum prima est habita 4 Apr. anno aerae christianae 1584, Marco Beumlero respondente) praeses Iohannes Iacobus Grynaeus, orthodoxae fidei rationem interrogantibus placidè reddidit ; accessit eiusdem Iohannis Iacobi Grynaeus synopsis orationis, quam de disputationis euentu, congressione nona, quae indicit in 15 Aprilis, publicè habuit. (in Latin) (Editio tertia ed.). Heidelbergae: Typis Iacobi Mylij. OCLC 123471534. "4 Apr. anno aerae christianae 1584"
- "1649 use of æræ Christianæ in English book – 1st usage found in English". Retrieved 2011-05-18. WING, Vincent (1649). Speculum uranicum, anni æræ Christianæ, 1649, or, An almanack and prognosication for the year of our Lord, 1649 being the first from bissextile or leap-year, and from the creation of the world 5598, wherein is contained many useful, pleasant and necessary observations, and predictions ... : calculated (according to art) for the meridian and latitude of the ancient borrough town of Stamford in Lincolnshire ... and without sensible errour may serve the 3. kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. London: J.L. for the Company of Stationers. "anni æræ Christianæ, 1649"
- first appearance of "Christian Era" in English (1652). Retrieved 2011-05-18. Sliter, Robert (1652). A celestiall glasse, or, Ephemeris for the year of the Christian era 1652 being the bissextile or leap-year: contayning the lunations, planetary motions, configurations & ecclipses for this present year ... : with many other things very delightfull and necessary for most sorts of men: calculated exactly and composed for ... Rochester. London: Printed for the Company of Stationers.
- Gregory, David; John Nicholson, John Morphew (1715). The Elements of Astronomy, Physical and Geometrical 1. London: printed for J. Nicholson, and sold by J. Morphew. p. 252. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Some say the World was created 3950 Years before the common Æra of Christ" Before Christ and Christian Era appear on the same page 252, while Vulgar Era appears on page 250
- Sale, George; Psalmanazar, George; Bower, Archibald; Shelvocke, George; Campbell, John; Swinton, John (1759). 1759 use of common æra. Printed for C. Bathurst. Retrieved 2011-05-18. Sale, George; Psalmanazar, George; Bower, Archibald; Shelvocke, George; Campbell, John; Swinton, John (1759). An Universal History: From the Earliest Accounts to the Present Time 13. London: C. Bathurst [etc.] p. 130. "at which time they fixed that for their common era" In this case, their refers to the Jews.
- Von), Jakob Friedrich Bielfeld (Freiherr; Hooper, William (1770). First-so-far found English usage of "before the common era", with "vulgar era" synonymous with "common era" (1770). Printed by G. Scott, for J. Robson and B. Law. Retrieved 2011-05-18. Hooper, William; Bielfeld, Jacob Friedrich (1770). The Elements of Universal Erudition: Containing an Analytical Abridgment of the Sciences, Polite Arts, and Belles Lettres 2. London: G. Scott, printer, for J Robson, bookseller in New-Bond Street, and B. Law in Ave-Mary Lane. pp. 105, 63. "in the year of the world 3692, and 312 years before the vulgar era.... The Spanish era began with the year of the world 3966, and 38 years before the common era (p63)"
- MacFarquhar, Colin; Gleig, George (1797). "vulgar era" in 1797 EB. A. Bell and C. Macfarquhar. p. 228 v. 14 pt. 1 P (Peter). Retrieved 2011-05-18. "St Peter died in the 66th year of the vulgar era"
MacFarquhar, Colin; Gleig, George (1797). "common era" in 1797 EB. A. Bell and C. Macfarquhar. p. 50 v. 14 pt. 1 P (Paul). Retrieved 2011-05-18. "This happened in the 33rd year of the common era, fome time after our Saviour's death."
George Gleig, ed. (1797). Encyclopædia Britannica: Or, A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature (Third Edition in 18 volumes). Edinburgh. v. 14 pt. 1 P.
- Alexander Campbell (1835). The Living Oracles, Fourth Edition. pp. 16–20. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Alexander Campbell (1835). The Living Oracles, Fourth Edition. pp. 15–16. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "Foremost among these [various eras] is that which is now adopted by all civilized peoples and known as the Christian, Vulgar or Common Era, in the twentieth century of which we are now living".
- Encyclopedia, Popular (1874). "common era of the Jews" (1874). Retrieved 2011-05-18. "the common era of the Jews places the creation in BC 3760" A. Whitelaw, ed. (1874). "Conversations Lexicon". The Popular Encyclopedia V (Oxford University Press). p. 207.
- "common era of the Jews" (1858). Wertheim, MacIntosh & Hunt. 1858. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Hence the present year, 1858, in the common era of the Jews, is AM 5618-5619, a difference of more than 200 years from our commonly-received chronology." Rev. Bourchier Wrey Savile, MA (1858). The first and second Advent: or, The past and the future with reference to the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God. London: Wertheim, Macintosh and Hunt. p. 176.
- Gumpach, Johannes von (1856). "common era of the Mahometans" (1856). Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Its epoch is the first of March old style. The common era of the Mahometans, as has already been stated, is that of the flight of Mahomet." Johannes von Gumpach (1856). Practical tables for the reduction of Mahometan dates to the Christian calendar. Oxford University. p. 4.
- Jones, William (1801). "common era of the world" (1801). F. and C. Rivington. Retrieved 2011-05-18. Jones, William (1801). The Theological, Philosophical and Miscellaneous Works of the Rev. William Jones. London: Rivington.
- Alexander Fraser Tytler, HON (1854). "common era of the foundation of Rome" (1854). Retrieved 2011-05-18. Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (1854). Universal History: From the Creation of the World to the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century. Boston: Fetridge and Company. p. 284.
- Baynes, Thomas Spencer (1833). "common era of the Incarnation" (1833). A. & C. Black. Retrieved 2011-05-18. The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature V (9 ed.). New York: Henry G. Allen and Company. 1833. p. 711.
- Todd, James Henthorn (1864). "common era" "of the Nativity" (1864). Hodges, Smith & co. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "It should be observed, however, that these years correspond to 492 and 493, a portion of the annals of Ulster being counted from the Incarnation, and being, therefore, one year before the common era of the Nativity of our Lord." James Henthorn Todd (1864). St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, A Memoir of his Life and Mission. Dublin: Hodges, Smith & Co, Publishers to the University. pp. 495, 496, 497.
- "common era of the birth of Christ" (1812). printed by A.J. Valpy for T. Payne. 1812. Retrieved 2011-05-18. Heneage Elsley (1812). Annotations on the Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles (2nd edition) (2nd ed.). London: A. J. Valpy for T. Payne. xvi.
- C.f. every good Latin dictionary, e.g. perseus.tufts.edu , freedict.com, pons (English/German), pons (German) or auxilium-online.net (German)
- "What is Thelema?". Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Tracey R Rich. "Judaism 101". Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Jews do not generally use the words "A.D." and "B.C." to refer to the years on the Gregorian calendar. "A.D." means "the year of our L-rd," and we do not believe Jesus is the L-rd. Instead, we use the abbreviations C.E. (Common or Christian Era) and B.C.E. (Before the Common Era)."
- "Plymouth, England Tombstone inscriptions". Jewish Communities & Records. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Here is buried his honour Judah ben his honour Joseph, a prince and honoured amongst philanthropists, who executed good deeds, died in his house in the City of Bath, Tuesday, and was buried here on Sunday, 19 Sivan in the year 5585. In memory of Lyon Joseph Esq (merchant of Falmouth, Cornwall). who died at Bath June AM 5585/VE 1825. Beloved and respected."
[19 Sivan 5585 AM is June 5, 1825. VE is likely an abbreviation for Vulgar Era.]
- Gormley, Michael (24 April 2005). "Use of B.C. and A.D. faces changing times". Houston Chronicle. p. A–13. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Raphall, Morris Jacob (1856). Post-Biblical History of The Jews. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=r7CbDH5hTe8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=CE+BCE.
- The term common era does not appear in this book; the term Christian era [lowercase] does appear a number of times. Nowhere in the book is the abbreviation explained or expanded directly. Raphall, Morris Jacob (1856). Search for era in this book.. Moss & Brother. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "Google Ngram Viewer". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- "Google Ngram Viewer". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- Google Ngram Viewer. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- Google Ngram Viewer. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- See, for example, the Society for Historical Archaeology states in its more recent style guide "Do not use C.E. (current era) ... or B.C.E.; convert these expressions to A.D. and B.C." Society for Historical Archaeology (December 2006). "Style Guide". Archived from the original on 2007-06-18. Retrieved 2011-05-18.. Whereas the American Anthropological Association style guide takes a different approach. American Anthropological Society (January 2003). "AAA Style Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Smithsonian Institution. "World History Standards". Smithsonian Education. Archived from the original on 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2006-09-09.
- "Submission Guidelines for The Ostracon". The Ostracon – Journal of the Egyptian Studies Society. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "For dates, please use the now-standard "BCE–CE" notation, rather than "BC–AD." Authors with strong religious preferences may use "BC–AD," however."
- "Author Guidelines". American Journal of Philology. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Eras and dates. The journal prefers B.C.E., C.E."
- "Manuscript Submission Guidelines". Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "we prefer BCE, CE"
- "Style Guide" (DOC). Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Please use BCE (Before Current Era) and CE (Current Era) rather than B.C. and A.D."
- "Maryland Church News Submission Guide & Style Manual" (PDF). Maryland Church News. 1 April 2005. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "AP: World History". Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "Jerusalem Timeline". History Channel. Retrieved 2011-05-18.;"Jerusalem: Biographies". History Channel. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "State School Board reverses itself on B.C./A.D. controversy". Family Foundation of Kentucky. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Joe Biesk (15 June 2006). "School board keeps traditional historic designations". Louisville Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "Kentucky Board of Education Report" (PDF). Kentucky Board of Education Report. 10 June 2006. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "AD and BC become CE/BCE". 9 February 2002. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Curtis, Polly (26 September 2011). "Reality check: has the BBC dropped the terms BC/AD?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Government to save Year of our Lord from BBC's 'Common Era'". Daily Mail (London). 2 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Australia goes all PC with a ban on BC: Birth of Jesus to be removed as reference point for dates in school history books". Daily Mail (London). 2 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "AD/BC rock solid in curriculum". The Age (Melbourne). 21 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
- "Comments on the use of CE and BCE to identify dates in history". ReligiousTolerance.com. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Annan, Kofi A., (then Secretary-General of the United Nations) (28 June 1999). "Common values for a common era: Even as we cherish our diversity, we need to discover our shared values". Civilization: The Magazine of the Library of Congress. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Doggett, L. (1992). "Calendars". In P. Kenneth Seidelmann. Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac. Sausalito, CA: University Science Books. p. 579. ISBN 0-935702-68-7.
- Whitney, Susan (2 December 2006). "Altering history? Changes have some asking 'Before what?'". The Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "I find this attempt to restructure history offensive," Lori Weintz wrote, in a letter to National Geographic publishers.... The forward to your book says B.C. and A.D. were removed so as to 'not impose the standards of one culture on others.'... It's 2006 this year for anyone on Earth that is participating in day-to-day world commerce and communication. Two thousand six years since what? Most people know, regardless of their belief system, and aren't offended by a historical fact."
- Wilson, Kenneth G. (1993). The Columbia Guide to Standard American English – A.D., B.C., (A.)C.E., B.C.E.. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-06989-2. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "A.D. appears either before or after the number of the year... although conservative use has long preferred before only; B.C. always follows the number of the year.... Common era (C.E.) itself needs a good deal of further justification, in view of its clearly Christian numbering. Most conservatives still prefer A.D. and B.C. Best advice: don’t use B.C.E., C.E., or A.C.E. to replace B.C. and A.D. without translating the new terms for the very large number of readers who will not understand them. Note too that if we do end by casting aside the A.D./B.C. convention, almost certainly some will argue that we ought to cast aside as well the conventional numbering system itself, given its Christian basis."
- Delaney, Carol Lowery (2004). Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology. Blackwell Publishing. p. 86. ISBN 0-631-22237-5. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "I find CE a euphemism because the common era still begins with Christ's birth and,thus, conceals the political implications."
- Carol Lowery Delaney (1998). Abraham on Trial: The Social Legacy of Biblical Myth. Princeton University Press. p. 267. ISBN 0-691-07050-4. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Panikkar, Raimon (2004). Christophany: The Fullness of Man. Maryville, NY: Orbis Books. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-57075-564-4. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Here is an example of the incarnation's historical-sociological implications among those who feel themselves furthest from Christianity. In certain North American academic circles one can see a return-with repercussions elsewhere-to the most bigoted Christian colonialism, along with the good intention of overcoming it. It has been suggested that the terminology of the Western calendar, Christian in origin, be replaced by one that presumably would be neutral and universal. It is understandable that some would protest the use of A.D. (anno Domini), but by eliminating B.C. (before Christ) and substituting B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) scholars betray the depths of the cultural impact of the historico-Christian event. After all, Jesus was not born in the year 1. We select a single event but without any value judgment. To call our age "the Common Era," even though for the Jews, the Chinese, the Tamil, the Muslims, and many others it is not a common era, constitutes the acme of colonialism."
- Simon, Stephanie (22 June 2007). "A conservative's answer to Wikipedia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Conservapedia Commandments at Conservapedia
- "Major Rule Changes in The Chicago Manual of Style, Fifteenth Edition". University of Chicago Press. 15th ed.: 2003. Archived from the original on 2007-09-09. Retrieved 2011-05-18. "Certain abbreviations traditionally set in small caps are now in full caps (AD, BCE, and the like), with small caps an option."
- SBL Handbook of Style Society of Biblical Literature 1999 "8.1.2 ERAS - The preferred style is B.C.E. and C.E. (with periods). If you use A.D. and B.C., remember that A.D. precedes the date and B.C. follows it. (For the use of these abbreviations in titles, see §220.127.116.11.)"
- "GERMANY: Jewish Joke". Time. 7 March 1938. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums. Ein unpartheiisches Organ für alles jüdische Interesse, II. Jahrgang, No. 60, Leipzig, 19. Mai 1838 (19 May 1838). See page 175 in Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums: Ein unpartheiisches Organ für alles jüdische Interesse in Betreff von Politik, Religion, Literatur, Geschichte, Sprachkunde und Belletristik, Volume 2 (Leipzig 1838).
- Julius Fürst, Geschichte des Karäerthums von 900 bis 1575 der gewöhnlichen Zeitrechnung (Leipzig 1862-1869).
- See page 149 in Weiße Blätter issue May 1938
- "Writing Dates in Spanish". Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Welsh-Termau-Cymraeg Archives". JISCMail. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
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- Whatever happened to B.C. and A.D., and why? (United Church of Christ)